Surf crowd buzzes over aerial antics

Action above the waves not on them

BLANTON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2012
Bachelor Tipene
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ
HANG TIME: Bachelor Tipene performs frontside air at Fitzroy Beach yesterday. The New Plymouth surfer went on to win the Little Rocket Airshow.

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The crowd at Fitzroy Beach was treated to some excellent surfing yesterday – above the waves, not on them.

About 16 surfers took part in the Little Rocket Airshow, with Bachelor Tipene claiming first prize. The New Plymouth surfer said he was stoked to take home $500 and a spot on a three-day coaching camp at the High Performance Centre in Australia.

"I didn't really have anything and then in the last five minutes I got a right hander and did a forehand air and kind of tweaked it into reverse," he said.

Tipene will head to the centre, which has coached numerous world title holders and current Dream Tour surfers, later in the year.

"I'll probably go in the middle of winter to escape the cold," Tipene said. "I want to take in as much as I can so I can come back and help out a few of the younger grommets."

A crowd of about 500 attended the Airshow and beach bash yesterday, part of the TSB Bank New Zealand Surf Festival.

Taranaki's own Dream Tour surfer Paige Hareb and her friends Rebecca Woods and Sofia Mulanovich also made an appearance, which got the crowd buzzing.

The Dream Tour girls are scheduled to start competition on Wednesday, but not before the ITL New Zealand Women's Open is surfed and a wildcard found.

Festival organiser Craig Williamson said several national title holders would be competing in the Open today, including current national champ Thandi Tipene.

Some have even made the trip back from Australia to compete for the coveted spot.

Wini Paul, who came second in the trials event at the Roxy Pro on the Gold Coast, said she wanted to go one better today. "Watching the event really made me realise how awesome it would be to get into the main draw."

The ITL New Zealand Women's Open is scheduled to start at Fitzroy Beach at 8am.

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